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Pop-Up Store Called Unbranded To Open in Deep Ellum

We’ve written in the magazine about Matt Alexander, founder of Need, and Bryan DeLuca, founder of Foot Cardigan. The two are joining forces to launch something called Unbranded in November. You’ll be able to buy pants there. And socks. And maybe a photograph. Plus, you’ll be able to hang out and drink beer and get some work done on your laptop. There might be mimes or jugglers. Folks need only apply to practice their art or sell their craft in the space. I am thinking of applying to be the in-house sword swallower. Just need to learn how to swallow swords. Anyway, here’s the full release:

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Apparently, the ‘Apparently’ Kid Is Headed to the State Fair of Texas

On Monday’s episode of Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, she had Noah Ritter — the 5-year-old Pennsylvania boy whose local TV news interview at a county fair went viral this summer. It was his second appearance, and as my wife and I were watching it last night (it’s her TiVo season pass, not mine), he was so delightful to watch that I remarked that Ellen ought to send him around the country as a roving reporter.

Ellen agreed with me, as right at the end of the interview (jump to about the 11-minute mark in this video) she announced that she’s sending Noah to report on the State Fair of Texas. The show was likely taped late last week, so keep an eye out for the kid roaming around Dallas and Fair Park.

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Watch Strokers Live Webcam, Stuff That’s NSFW

I know that Chris has already told you what to do in Dallas this weekend. But let’s say someone has kidnapped you and locked you in a closet with nothing but 3 pounds of brisket from Pecan Lodge and a laptop with a wifi connection to the internet. Of course, your captor would have to be pretty stupid, because then you could just email the cops to come rescue you. Let’s imagine, then, that you welcome the downtime. There’s a beanbag chair in the closet. It’s not so bad. Anyway, what you could do is point your browser to the the live webcam going at Rick Fairless’ Strokers. It’s their 18th anniversary this weekend, and, having once spent an afternoon at the place, I can pretty much guarantee that things will get dicey — in an entertaining fashion. Right now, not much is happening. Some Led Zeppelin is playing the background. A guy is sweeping up in front of the stage. But just hang in there. In a couple hours, you’ll be happy you stayed in your closet.

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99% Invisible on the Scheme to Make Dallas a Seaport

The great podcast 99% Invisible just did an episode about our city’s admittedly harebrained idea to establish Dallas (a city 300 miles from the ocean, 700 miles via the Trinity River) as an important seaport on the Gulf of Mexico. I’d heard much of this before, but I hadn’t realize that our incongruously massive freeway bridges over the river are massive specifically to let ships pass under:

In a series of fits and starts over the next 55 years, the Port of Dallas project kept moving forward. In anticipation of the imminent navigability of the Trinity River, new freeway bridges constructed over the river were built extra tall to allow sea-going vessels clearance underneath. But by the time the money and political clout was ready to finish the project once and for all, Dallas didn’t really need a seaport. The new DFW airport would do just fine.

So the city of Dallas moved their river from the center of town to a walled-off floodplain for a Port of Dallas which never came to pass, and for years the diverted river festered; it became a place to dump sewage, and trash, and even dead bodies. No one went there on purpose.

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Ang Lee To Direct Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

If you were sitting around today wondering what was up with the film adaptation of author and pool basketball enthusiast Ben Fountain’s fantastic novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, you are some sort of wizard, because today there is news: celebrated director Ang Lee (Life of Pi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm) has decided on it for his next project. The script is by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire).

In other words: just about as good a situation as anyone could have hoped for.

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Biggest Grammar Mistakes in Dallas-Fort Worth Signage

Automated proofreader Grammarly recently held a contest seeking submissions of photos featuring the most egregious grammar mistakes on signs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Above you can see the winning entry, and right off the bat I have a complaint.

That sign is obviously filled with purposeful misspellings intended to attract customers’ attention and underline the folksiness of people selling the produce. I think it should have been disallowed rather than given the prize.

Below are the other top entries from North Texas.

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Why Dallas Was Chosen the Best Skyline in the World

You may have seen, on any number of other sites accessible via the World Wide Web, that Dallas was chosen the best skyline in the world — let me repeat, the best skyline in the world — in a readers’ poll on USA Today.com. In other words, not only do we have a world-class skyline, we have the world-classiest skyline.

Here’s what the newspaper’s site had to say about that:

“Dallas became initially identifiable by the opening credits of an infamous ’80s TV show,” says expert Preston Kissman. “The contemporary Dallas skyline tells a story of big banking, big oil, big money, and the occasional big bust.” James Adams add, “Dallas has continued to stay flashy. Controversially, it has done this not with the height or style of its newest architecture, but rather through an internal race to adorn its existing and new icons with colorful interactive lighting that cannot be ignored.”

We’re among friends here, so I’m sure we can all agree that ranking Dallas the No. 1 skyline on the entirety of planet Earth is ridiculous. What about Chicago? New York? San Francisco? Sure, we beat the pants off places like Houston, Omaha, and Atlanta, but do we even belong in the top tier once you factor in locales in all hemispheres?

So how did we win?

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D Magazine’s 40 Greatest Stories: Death of a Poet

I’m going to spoil a pivotal event of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, but if you’ve not yet gotten around to seeing that brilliant, now 15-year-old film, then face up to the fact that you likely never will and don’t hassle me for spilling the following secret.

Magnolia tells a collection of interconnected stories of people in Los Angeles. There’s nothing too far-fetched about its plot lines about ordinary people moving about their fairly ordinary lives when, without explanation, it begins to rain frogs. By which I mean, full-sized frogs fall from the sky. There are apocalyptic, Biblical overtones, but no vengeful god appears to take credit for the act. It’s ridiculous. Makes little sense. Comes out of nowhere and alters lives.

The best explanation for the sequence that I’ve ever heard came from the late actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who appears in Magnolia as a nurse caring for a man dying of cancer. He said — and I’m sorry that I can’t locate the interview anywhere online, so you’ll just have to trust my fading memory  — the rain of frogs began to make sense to him when he thought about cancer.

Why we shouldn’t we accept the possibility of a downpour of amphibians when we’ve become accustomed to a plague like cancer? Cancer is your own body turning against itself for ultimately mysterious reasons. It’s ridiculous. Makes little sense. Often comes out of nowhere and alters lives.

I’m sure that when, in 1976, 30-year-old Judith McPheron began to suffer an onslaught of clumps of tissue growth all over her body — a rare form of cancer known as liposarcoma — she could hardly have been any more shocked if she’d glanced out the window and seen frogs descending from the sky.

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